Saving and copying files

By default, FileMaker Pro automatically saves and commits changes to your data as you work, so there is no Save command. You can, however:

  • save a copy of your file as a backup
  • save a clone of your file with no data

Some actions do not cause a file to be saved. See "What FileMaker Pro doesn't save," below.

To make a copy or clone of your file:

  1. Choose File menu > Save a Copy As.
  2. Navigate to where you want to save the copy on your disk.
  3. For File name (Windows) or Save As (macOS), type a filename.
  4. For Save a (Windows) or Type (macOS):
  5. Choose


    copy of current file

    Duplicate the current file.

    compacted copy (smaller)

    Optimize the file (remove blank space). See Saving a compacted copy.

    clone (no records)

    Save a file's tables, layouts, scripts, page setup options, and field definitions without the data.

    self-contained copy (single file)

    Create a copy of the current file with all container data that is stored as a file reference or stored externally (by both open and secure storage) embedded in the file's container fields.

    Note  To have a copy of a file that includes container data that's stored externally, choose self-contained copy. The copy of current file and compacted copy options do not copy externally stored data. If you want to use either of those options, you'll need to embed data in the container fields first. See Setting up container fields to store data externally.

  6. Click Save.

What FileMaker Pro doesn't save

Changes made to the state of a file are not saved if they are the only changes you make while the file is open. Here are some changes that are not saved:

  • displaying a different record or layout
  • sorting records or modifying a sort order
  • performing find operations such as Find, Show All Records, Omit Record, or modifying a find request
  • showing or hiding the status toolbar

For example, if you open a file, sort records, and then close the file, the sort order is not saved. However, if you open a file, add a new record, sort the records, and then close the file, FileMaker Pro saves the sort order as well as the new record.


  • FileMaker Pro constantly saves changes to your computer's RAM, or cache. You can set the interval at which your work is saved to disk. See Setting memory preferences.
  • You can specify when changes are saved by creating (and then executing) a script that contains the Flush Cache to Disk script step. This script command moves anything stored in RAM to the hard disk.
  • By default, layout design changes are not saved automatically. Therefore, save your work periodically while you are designing a layout in Layout mode. You can also set a preference so that layout changes are saved automatically. See Saving and reverting layout changes.
  • If you want more control over when record data is saved, you can clear the Save Record Changes Automatically option on a layout-by-layout basis. See Setting the automatic record-saving option for a layout.
  • The Save a Copy As menu command is not supported in FileMaker Pro database files hosted by FileMaker Cloud or FileMaker Server.
  • If you see an alert that says container data failed to transfer when you created a self-contained copy, see the Transfer.log file located in the user's Documents folder for details.